Nine centimeters (3.5 inches) tall, tiny girls Hakumei and Mikochi live in the forest. Living in a tiny house in a tree, riding insects and birds, and making umbrellas out of leaves, these tiny girls live a tiny life. Follow their tiny but lovely lives as they live their day-to-day in a fantastic world of tiny people and gods.
For me Iyashikei is a mixed bag. While I usually find myself enjoying them somewhat, often times the shows focus too much on the healing ascepts without anything deeper under them. While the nice simple moments of life are nice, it can get repetitive if that is all a show has to offer. Luckily in the case of Hakumei to Mikochi there is so much more that it has to offer.
Hakumei to Mikochi features a unique setting that it uses the fullest of it's potential. Each element of its setting is explored and is fully thought out. It's not just a bunch of random
ideas scrambled together. Nor is it just a start so they can get into the usual antics. It feels real, and each episode gives another picture of the tiny world that they inhabit. Small animals inhabit the world as well and their size makes sense given the size of our main characters. Things are much bigger than them, and the show is fine with displaying that. A peanut is small to us but is big to them. A mouse is small to us but is bigger than either of the main characters. And other small animals do appear. It is a life in the woods. It's not just resized humans. It truly is the woods. Each element of their culture is well explored and utilized. The ending even goes into detail about all of the various places and people that they meet in the episode and goes into their backstory, fleshing them out and bringing an extra element to the characters or setting that we had just watched.
Everything feels thought out. It doesn't feel like they scrambled something together. Rather it all feels connected and is utilized very well through out the course of the show. Each part of the setting says something about another part and about the general world that they inhabit. The world feels vibrant and by going into the different professions, festivals, homes, taverns, and attractions it makes the world feel that much more real, and has it shine that much more. It's not a simple picture but rather an encompassing one, where we get to see where they shop, where they work, where they play, and all of the different elements that makes up this tiny life.
The main characters also shine. It's hard portraying a reserved couple. If the two are too reserved then their bond feels too fake and feels like one of convenience rather than of love. If they are too indulgent then it's no longer reserved. While it's easy to portray a relationship by having one pair of the relationship continually glomp, hug, and kiss the other, that isn't necessarily realistic, nor does it account for all relationships.
But Hakumei to Mikochi is able to do this. The two of them never overtly discuss or confess their love for each other, and yet they feel like a strong pair with an unbreakable bond. It's about the little things. The two of them know each other so well. Each moment between the two of them comes off as two people who know each other so well that they know how the other will act and why they act that way. They know when to support each other and when to give each other space, which can be just as critical. Both Hakumei and Mikochi can get engrossed in their work and at those times both of them know that it's best to leave them to their work. It's hard to get distance right, but it feels like these two know each other well so well that they know exactly when they want to be alone, and that is pretty great. And outside of that? They're often together. Whether it be something that one party is more interested in than the other it doesn't matter. The two of them are there to support each other and be with each other. Many times the two of them are together right next to each other. They may not be gushing over each other, but the closeness between the two of them can be felt.
The characters themselves are also noteworthy. Both of them are talented in their fields and show different levels of talent. Hakumei is an adept handygirl, and Mikochi is very good at sewing, cooking and the like. They both respect each other's talents and so does the show. There is no sense of one being better than the other due to their talents. Rather the different benefits of their talents are expressed in the show. The show is also able to avoid the trap where their skills are too correlated to how one might act. Hakumei may be a good handygirl and be more active but that doesn't mean she can't get motion sickness under the sea. Nor does that mean she's always going to be the one to spring to action. The two of them really do work well as a pair both complimenting each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Not only do they work as a pair but they also work on their own. While the show is just as reserved as the characters are there are some hints towards the inner workings of the characters via some of the episodes. For example, Hakumei seems to show a level of need of approval and worth in the world that she inhabits. There are a couple of times in the show where she wants to join a group, usually based off of work, and gets upset when she can't do so. The show never brings this up in dramatic fashion but it does hint at it with many of its episodes showing this element of her.
And the art and the sound are also fantastic. The show has a beautiful art style and is well adept at showcasing the better points of the world that its showing. It has an interesting style that works very well in the context of the show. Not to mention it can show and make action feel real without actual displaying that much. It may not be the most technical form of animation but they're able to make everything feel real and storybook-like with the use of style and directing and in my eyes that's just as good. It never feels like it's lacking in animation quality. Each moment feels rich. The sound may not shine as much but it certainly does well to help feel the mood of the setting and the episode, and express what the show is going for.
Hakumei to Mikochi is the best that Iyashikei has to offer. It's comfy, rich, and does have a lot to say and show under it's comfiness. Filled with interesting characters, a fantastic reserved character bond that I have yet to see done well elsewhere, and a vibrant developed world Hakumei to Mikochi provides a unique and wonderful viewing experience, which I heartily enjoyed.
At first, Hakumei to Mikochi (or the full name: Hakumei and Mikochi: Tiny little life in the woods) may not feel like it's anything special or noteworthy to write home about, but I was impressed with the storytelling that sells the show, and it really feels at home with the Iyashikei setting from the manga source of the same name.
In this show, you follow Hakumei and Mikochi, two 9cm tall girls in their stories of the tiny life in the woods, mingling around with the wide cast of crew from close friends to work buddies to townmates that know them well. The episodic format of
chapters taken straight from the manga really works well here, as is evident with the setting the chapters are based upon, and all these are given with no expectations, just some ol' good storytelling like from a fairy tale book.
If you're wondering there's any similarity to it, remember Chi and Yuu from Girls' Last Tour last season albeit a different setting and the context of the world around them (post-apocalyptic world vs. insect-like world). Nevertheless, it helps to cement that like with Chi and Yuu's purpose, Hakumei is the one who is capable of working and solving issues while her life buddy Mikochi can help cook dishes and do woman stuff, and they both are a fresh breeze of air from the stereotypical girls-doing-stuff archetypes.
The art and animation is well deserving of studio Lerche's production, though the SoL and light-fantasy themes are not their major niches when it comes to the style of the anime done by them. Nevertheless, though somewhat of a good representation of the manga source, the lush backgrounds never fail to give the sense of realism of the lives led by our MCs, and the comic-like feel of the animation really embodies what's great and really supports the story in full view.
The sound really too is something else. If you're familiar with Evan Call's works (Violet Evergarden), then it shouldn't be a surprise that this man is getting the good notoriety that his musicality talent is really underappreciated that many people like myself are only starting to notice now. Both the OP and ED are classical tunes onto itself, and really gave the series its sense of warm-hearted goodness with light feelings all around. A good OST even though it's hardly noticeable.
Hakumei to Mikochi might not be something that at first glance worthy to ever be watched or commented about, but I'm taking this chance to say that you should really watch this anime. Yes, it's nothing you're gonna say about it, but it kinda brings you away into the imaginary world, even if it's for a short while.
Hakumei to Mikochi is what life is all about folks. Kickback, relax, it's time to see pure joy and happiness wrap you up in a warm blanket of kindness.
The plot of HtM is no War and Peace. It's simple, but deliberately so, we all came here to leave some stress to the side and enjoy the childlike wonder of main characters. The characters are adorable little puffies and their design perfectly fits with the mood of the show. Their soft and rounded features emanate cuteness and their surroundings are so earthly and homey that you it creates an atmosphere of utmost comfort.
The music expands
this all by 10 times, it's just a joy to listen to these casual and sentimental tunes that add the final piece to an already magnificent picture and it's that complete composition that makes it all feel alive and transports you into the world of saccharine fantasy.
Watch this anime folks, have yourself a good time!
I made a preliminary review before this one, and I've left it virtually unchanged due to the fact that pacing, characters and everything about this anime has been consistent throughout the whole series. That's something I like to see.
There is not too much to be said about Hakumei to Mikochi, besides the fact that it really does a good job at breathing new life in to the Slice of Life genre. While it doesn’t stray too far away from the idea of a Slice of Life, it’s unique setting makes this all the more enjoyable. This review will be
extended once this anime is completed. I use a 100-point scale when rating each category.
When I think of Slice of Life, I usually think of a story where people with normal lives in a modern time go through some of the many life experiences anyone would have. However, Hakumei to Mikochi is different in a way that makes this very likeable. The fantasy world of this anime is quite wondrous and it’s always fun watching both Hakumei and Mikochi have different experiences, whether they’re together or separate. I think it’s very interesting how humans are only around 9 centimeters tall; it makes me think of how life would be like if we all were equals to animals and we could communicate with them. Of course, the fact that fantasy is incorporated into this is the main point that breaks the normal Slice of Life tropes, since we do not really see many anime where both Slice of Life and Fantasy go together like bread and butter.
I don’t know why, but I really, really like the characters of this anime a lot. While they aren’t that relatable, both Hakumei and Mikochi are great characters within themselves, and they both have their specific talents, with Hakumei being a hard worker and dedicated person while Mikochi is a good cook and singer, despite being quite insecure with many things. They have their likes and dislikes, and sometimes their differences make watching this anime really fun. A lot of supporting characters are also revisited in different episodes as I’ve seen so far, and I appreciate that they are able to be reused for many different parts of the plot, as with Slice of Life it makes the experience much less boring. Seeing the bond strengthen between Hakumei and Mikochi, as well as all the supporting characters is great. I think the best thing about the characters is that there's nothing keeping them from being themselves, allowing them to have their personalities as well as progress through the story. Iyashikeis are the best at doing this, so this is to be expected.
There isn’t much to say about this, besides the fact that the animation is pretty damn good. It’s used in a great way whenever it’s needed to be used, especially for facial expressions in this anime. I like the way the animation is used in specific scenes, such as the more scenic moments, like when they fly or when detail is needed intricately. I haven’t watched enough Lerche anime to be able to judge how good this is compared to the rest of their anime, but I just know this is impressive.
With an OST produced by the badass we know as Evan Call, who also made the OST for Violet Evergarden, I think it’s safe to say this guy’s one of the best composers I’ve seen in anime so far. His compositions fit just right with any scenario in Hakumei to Mikochi and nothing ever really feels off. The OP and ED are absolutely spectacular and it makes me want so much more from Evan Call in other anime. As of right now my favourite composition in the anime was used near the end of Episode 1, when Hakumei and Mikochi are at the port in front of the marketplace, and the sea shanty starts. This is a prime example of how an OST can be used, because this was used in such a “too good to be true” way that it felt almost impacting when I heard Mikochi start to sing. I felt connected and it’s something that’s very rare to come out of an OST from any anime, so I appreciate Evan Call’s music a lot.
This will be the very first thing you notice, and it’s kind of obvious that Hakumei to Mikochi wants to visually please the viewer with it’s beautiful scenery and landscape. Considering this takes place primarily in a forest full of tiny people, it gives you a really close up experience of what living in this forest looks like. The attention to detail in almost every frame of the forest is very pleasing to look at. Yet another rarity that appears in this anime, Hakumei to Mikochi doesn’t spare the viewer’s eyes with the beauty that appears before them in the many different places they present to you; the forest, their house, the marketplace, everything. If you want to see something Made in Abyss esque, maybe Hakumei to Mikochi is for you in terms of art style.
I don’t even need to say a couple words about how enthralled I am by Hakumei to Mikochi’s beauty and overall premise, and I know it’s not just me who feels this way. This anime is a lot like a few other anime I’ve watched, except it’s also completely different at the same time. If you want something as accurate as possible, this is like Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, combined with Made in Abyss, making a really fabulous slice of life anime about not just the joys of life, but also the hardships and how even if you’re going through rough patches, there’s still more to look forward to. Not to say this anime teaches you a valuable lesson or anything, but I feel like there’s always something underlying in any anime that’s just stunning in every manner. While this is probably the most underrated and overlooked anime of the season, I think it should have a bit more attention. It’s a really great Slice of Life and I haven’t really seen much like it besides the only two other anime of the many I’ve seen.
For those who are just looking at this anime, please give it a chance. It might bring you on a journey you’ll never regret going through, because that’s basically how I felt when watching Hakumei to Mikochi. There really isn’t much that’s very unique in anime anymore, and this is just one of the few refreshers I’ve needed. This is one of the best anime of the Winter 2018 season by far. Even with the abundance of slice of life this season, I think it's best you skip out on most of them and watch Yuru Camp or Hakumei to Mikochi, since they best carry out the formula of a healing slice of life. I hope this review helps you out.